Sunday, 17 April 2011

Wales or not, sightings still welcome. Lets help keep them all safe

Favourably warm temperatures and calm seas have brought out observers and rewarded them with views of cetaceans in the Irish Sea. As Ian Hughes remarks The Mersey Estuary is not in Wales but to be strictly fair half of our ferry surveys are in Irish Waters. So far as we know cetaceans show little regard for such boundaries and its good to hear that the Mersey (once considered to be so polluted that anyone falling in would be poisoned before they drowned) is now supporting enough fish to attract apex predators such as Porpoises. Thanks Ian! IAN HUGHES 8:47 PM (13 hours ago) Even though, I live a few miles from North Wales, I was excited about spotting 2 porpoises in the Mersey estuary over high tide on 15th April. I was watching some of the high number of Sandwich Terns that have recently returned to the area when the calm water was broken by the dorsal fins of the cetaceans as they swam into the river. I just felt that I had to tell somebody. Regards, Ian. Another last minute survey aboard the Stena Europe Friday /Saturday was reasonably successful though both legs were fog affected for up to half an hour on either leg. Porpoise were seen as were a couple of pods of common dolphins and a distant minke whale but large parts of the crossing were devoid of life despite excellent calm viewing conditions, thanks to survey team, Josh , Dan, Lynn and Aaron for coming along. Also best wishes and thanks to Senior Master, and Ships Officers; Captain David Farrell, Bob Allen and Tony Cook on their imminent retirement. Philip Lees Apr 15 (2 days ago) Hi Cliff My first visit to Pen Pedol for a couple of months but I was well rewarded with great views of 6 - 8 porps foraging in calm water between Shoe Rock and Ynys Eilun. Looked like 2 pairs - mum and juvenile? and 2 - 4 other adults - they were busy for over an hour and showing really well. Nice view of a bull seal and a cow basking by the Copper Mines too. All the best. Phil Lees Reports of Porpoises in Ramsay Sound and especially with young (thanks Phil) are also of real value as the decision to allow TEL to test a tidal turbine in the sound has been taken. With increased pressure from so many potential disturbances in the sound we all need to try and make sure the wildlife is protected. It is of course in the interests of the tour boat operators using the sound and making a living raising awareness of its wildlife, that they create as little disturbance as possible. This is why the Pembrokeshire Marine Code Group was set up. It has been devised by local experts both commercial boat operators and conservation groups, to try and safeguard this delicate balance. As the new tourist season commences, Sea Trust strongly recommends that any potential customers of these wildlife tour boats check that the boats they use are members of the PMC and support the code. Copies of the code should be available from operators or at the St Justinians embarkation point. There may be some confusion as to boats displaying other stickers. WiSE is a national code of conduct for wildlife tour boats. Operators gets a WiSE sticker/pennant by attending a day course on navigating safely around wildlife. There is no monitoring of this code or guarantee of compliance. It is basically a sign of good intent. WiSE expects its members to abide by local codes. The Pembrokeshire Marine Code Group members are monitored within the group and on odd occasions when code breakage occurs and is proven, the operators recieve a friendly visit from Tom Luddington the PBC coordinator and hopefully the issue is discussed and resolved. This protects both the responsible boat operators and the porpoises, seals and other wildlife from cowboys who put their own interest before those of the wildlife they pretend to care for. See link to Pembrokeshire Marine Code opposite...